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6 The Army Rebuilds Tebessa (First visited 1842)

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Chapter Summary

Tebessa, a garrison town that was the first headquarters of the Roman Third Legion. It sits in a key location near the Tunisian border, and its site has probably been continuously occupied since Roman times, not least because its Byzantine fort remained in excellent condition, and other useless buildings such as the theatre provided convenient building materials. A comprehensive collection of documents from the Army's occupation, especially the extensive work done there by the Military Engineers, allows to chart what happened to some of her monuments. Tebessa, the ancient Theveste, was enclosed in AD535 by Byzantine walls, built by Solomon, who also restored the earlier basilica complex. The Roman enceinte had been completely destroyed by the Vandals, who had razed it to the ground. Solomon built strong walls, which were rich in antiquities, and which the French could see were similar to the walls of Guelma and Sétif.

Keywords: Byzantine walls; Roman Third Legion; Solomon; Tebessa; Tunisian border; Vandals

10.1163/9789004271630_008
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